The Lehigh is a candidate for PA River of the Year

Written by on January 22, 2021

The Lehigh is a candidate for PA River of the Year

By Megan Frank

January 22, 2021

The Lehigh River in South Bethlehem with the SteelStacks in the background. Photo| Wikimedia Commons

The Lehigh River is a candidate for the Commonwealth’s 2021 River of the Year. The 109-mile waterway is one of five Pennsylvania rivers nominated for the award. 

Listen to the story.

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Resources’ River of the Year contest celebrates rivers that provide recreation for local communities. 

A public vote determines the winner, and the winner will receive a $10,000 grant to organize community activities, like kayaking and canoeing, on the winning river. 

Eric Allred, who runs Historic Bethlehem River Tours, knows why the Lehigh River is so popular. 

“A lot of the draw of the tour is the natural beauty of the area and the history. The trail and the river constitute the highway of the American Industrial Revolution,” Allred says.

Kat Brown, a guide for Historic Bethlehem River Tours, plans to vote for the Lehigh because the river provides a peaceful break from the hustle and bustle of downtown Bethlehem.

“I really feel that there is spiritual awareness and an experience to be had by spending time on the river. There’s an area beyond the SteelStacks where you pass under the bridge and kind of head out from where you can see civilization. It’s hard to believe that there are three-quarters of a million people surrounding you in the Lehigh Valley. What you see before you is really the majesty of the river,” she says. 

The Lehigh river previously has been named River of the Year in 1997 and 2007. 

The deadline to vote for River of the Year is 5 p.m. Jan. 22.  

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